Google wants to know what you’re like as well as what you do
Posted on 19th June 2023
I regularly tell anyone who will listen that I help businesses share what they’re like, as well as what they do, because people like to do business with people they like.
Most of us are aware that improving our website’s search engine result page (SERP) performance is good for business. If your potential customers can’t find you online then they will go somewhere else. While some search engine optimisation companies will tell you that they can get you on page one of Google, have you ever wondered what that really means?
A lot of effort goes in to improving rankings for keywords that are relevant for your business. Like many others, you have probably been frustrated that competition for your keywords is fierce. Despite your best efforts your rankings don’t improve.
Search engines are getting cleverer all the time and the new algorithms now focus on meaningful queries that go beyond keywords to explore what people are really looking for. Good keyword research is important, but you must also understand what people will be searching for and why.
Deliver great user experiences
While brand name searches will give you a very good chance of appearing at the top of the SERPs, most small businesses don’t have a brand that is so well recognised that people will immediately search for it. For example, if you search for ‘Tesserae Communications’ all of the first page would be related to this company. This is one very good reason why you shouldn’t invest your hard-earned money in advertising your company name.
The alternative is to make sure your website delivers good experiences for visitors. This will help you to rank well and your conversion rates will also improve. Here’s how you can get all your ducks in a row.
Show you're a local business
More than 45% of online searches are for local products or services, so create content that is specific to your area.
One important way to improve your results is to make sure you site and other online content on social media includes information that shows where you are and who you serve.
Include phone numbers, addresses and post codes on your website, Google My Business, and your business pages on social media. Look for local directories and make sure your entry is up to date. Every little helps.
Be a good online housekeeper
Rather than making changes across your whole website, you can start with some simple actions that will make a difference.
There are easy online tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights you can use to check the speed of each page on your website. The faster your website loads, the better user experience you will deliver. As a minimum the load time for your website on PC desktops and mobile devices should be under three seconds.
If your pages are slow to load, you might find that the images haven’t been optimised. You can easily improve performance with a tool like Optimizilla. If there are any pages that deliver a ‘404’ page not found error you will need to repair this fault to improve user experiences.
However, maintaining your website is an important and continuous job, so make sure you check and improve your pages regularly and add fresh new content.
Check the competition
There are also good free online tools you can use to check your competitors’ sites as well.
Alternatively, you can make a list of the keywords you want to prioritise and then test them to see who is performing well. Compare their pages with yours to see where you can improve.
You know your customers well, so look at your own and your competitors’ sites to identify gaps that you can fill that will add to the overall experience and give you an advantage.
Be effective by design
Unless you have experience in design it’s a good idea to use a professional to create a clear and easy-to-use layout for your website.
Don’t be tempted to include elements to your site for decoration and make sure you add ‘alt’ text to all your images. This is valuable to help people with visual impairments understand your website. Without good alt text search engines won’t understand what they mean, so you’ll also be missing an opportunity to improve your SERP performance as well.
Remember you can also add links to images, which can help people to navigate your website and improve their experience.
Include a page description too. Although not strictly part of your search engine ranking, when your site appears in search results it makes it clear what you have to offer. It's a free advertisement for your business, so it would be a shame to waste it.
Plan your website’s structure
Your website navigation needs to be easy to understand and it should be clear straightaway that the information you’re providing is useful. To deliver a good online experience your content needs to have three important features. It must:
be relevant to your audience
show that you understand your customers’ needs
The words you choose are important, but they must also be well organised and, to help with your search engine results, you should include heading tags (only one H1 per page, and then H2 and H3 tags) to guide search engines through what’s important on each page.
It’s also important to include enough words so that search engine algorithms can recognise the subject of the page and its relevance to different searches.
There are so many ways well-chosen words can help the performance of your website. If you would like some advice, please get in touch.
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